Are you a marketing and business leader struggling with getting support for your efforts to move the needle on social business?
Bottom line, people don’t like it when you move their cheese. Although you may be an early adopter of technology and are out to change the social world, chances are that most of the folks within your organization do not feel the same way. They like it the way things are.
Do More than move their cheese.
If you want social business to ever take root in your organization you must do more than move the cheese of folks who are happy with where it is.
You must inspire, educate and empower. You must ignite a movement that is bigger than you, them or your business. You must start inside but focus also on the larger ecosystem, your clients, partners and stakeholders and how you can provide the greatest value possible.
Embrace the journey. Social business is a journey, not a destination. Pack your bag, grab some fuel, a few good traveling partners and accept the fact your goals are not going to be achieved overnight. There may be days, weeks and months you feel alone. You are a change maker, cheese mover and must show value in why you are doing what you do. People are not going to believe you. They may laugh at you, doubt you, challenge you. Put on your confidence and do your homework. The better you can prepare for the journey, the more you will enjoy each bump, valley & mountain climbed. Make sure you have a positive mindset and can lead the charge.
Don’t just start with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+ or Skype. Start with where you want to go and why. Remind stakeholders and employees it is a journey, not a destination. There is not one day you can write on the calendar that out of the blue you will become a “social business.” It will be an ongoing, evolving and dynamic process that will always be changing. They must accept this fact and it is your responsibility to set proper expectations. Don’t start selling the social business farm before you have a tractor!
If your internal teams and stakeholders are confusing the platforms and technology (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other tools) with the art, science and principles of social business, then it is your job to teach them. How can you expect them to buy-in to something they know nothing about and don’t understand? Continuing to think to yourself how stupid or ignorant they are is not going to get them on board. Complaining to your boss will not help you either. You must win hearts and support from human beings before you can win budgets.
Don’t setup a kickoff meeting with your key stakeholders and simply talk about all of the “cheese you are going to move around.” If you do this, your program is destined to fail. Focus on the value that can be offered to the organization and the employees within. If you are talking to sales, make the conversation relevant to their sales efforts, nurturing relationships and sharing valuable information with their clients and prospects. If you are speaking with customer service, discuss how you can improve customer satisfaction by leveraging new media and improving efficiencies. Discuss with human resources how they can leverage platforms such as Skype and Google Hangouts to better communicate with current and potential employees and partners. Educate them on how they will be more prepared for the jobs, careers and be able to do their job more efficiently. Help them work smarter, not just harder.
Collaboration is your name and your game for success. You must work WITH your team, not against them. Listen more than you talk. Hear more than you tell and stop the preaching. Find the people in your organization who already understand what you are up to and why. Find the leaders who believe in the opportunities of leveraging new media and social business methodologies for business results. Do your research and learn who these people are. How can you engage them now and invite them to be part of the process. Give them a role, empower them to help you and your business mission.
The last thing you want to do if you have an organization full of nay-sayers is to be pushing them to do something you don’t understand. If you don’t know how to articulate AND implement the initiatives you are asking them to believe in, you are unlikely to ever win their support. They will see your lack of knowledge from day one and will know that you are over your head. Take time to invest in yourself before you ask others to invest in your program. Read blogs, attend events and enroll in training that can help you. You may have to do this outside of your regular work hours. Keeping your vision and passion close to heart will help you through the long days and nights ahead.
In addition to knowing and articulating your vision and mission, you must also define and be able to measure goals. What are you trying to accomplish? How will you know what success tastes and smells like? How will you measure success? Align your social media and social business efforts to business goals where you can have the greatest positive impact. You must also then be accountable. Follow through what you say you are going to do, period!
If you are reading this list and thinking, “how the heck am I going to find the time to do all of this” it is time you stop Random Acts of Marketing. Take your list of “To-Do’s” and cut it in half. Focus on only the most important tasks so you can have time to get your social business program off the ground once and for all. Random Acts of Marketing (RAMs) will keep you from success. RAMs will eat every last morsel of ROI before your team figures out the definition of social business.
Once you get to the place where you have a vision, mission, goals and objectives you are likely light years ahead of most of the people in your organization. Many of them still likely think social business = Facebook. You must acknowledge where they are coming from and be able to speak to them in words they understand. Be careful of tone and do not talk down to them. Help them understand. Don’t get frustrated and don’t yell at them when they don’t understand. Empower them to join you for your journey. When it comes to goals and metrics you must set proper expectations and help your stakeholders understand the difference between foundational community metrics and revenue.
This is where the rubber meets the road. This is where the mouse meets the new mouse house. It’s time for you to get real, show action and prove how your plans and strategies can really work. Step up your own game. Start a blog to share your thought leadership with internal and external audiences. Invest in training and skills needed to lead your team. Ensure your own social profiles are complete, and can be leveraged as a role model and framework for the rest of your organization. It will be hard to win support for something that you are not doing for yourself.
Remember that behind every piece of cheese you are trying to move is a human being. Behind every avatar you are trying to inspire, connect with and sell to is also a human being. You must humanize everything about your social business program. Don’t get hung up in only the tech, analytics and fancy, bright, shiny objects. Focus on human beings. You can never go wrong by investing in communities and the human beings within them! Read-> 13 Characteristics of Human Brands